Friendly Neighborhood Barber
Sports memorabilia and chatter make this shop fun
By Octavio Serrano
Al Matatov has been getting a haircut once a week since he was 11 years old. As a child, he shoveled snow in his native New York to near money to pay for his haircuts.
“I’ve always been into my own hair and the latest styles,” Matatov says. “I went to my barber at least once a week and people would always assume I was a barber.”
That wouldn’t be for a few years. Now, he is getting ready to open his second barbershop in the Valley—67th Avenue and Happy Valley Road in Phoenix.
The original Men’s Lounge Barbershop at 2501 W. Happy Valley Road in Phoenix’s Happy Valley Town Center is known for its energizing atmosphere. Sports memorabilia like a Carmelo Anthony jersey hang on one wall, while bobbleheads decorate the stations.
Rather than running a shop that is merely a service to clients, co-owner Matatov focused on providing an addictive atmosphere when he opened in 2012.
“I wanted to make it a cool atmosphere where people would want to go back because it’s so fun,” Matatov says.
Matatov was in the jewelry industry in New York before he became a barber. As the times changed, so did his tastes. He wanted to delve into an industry that made him happy—and that was cutting hair.
Matatov soon realized that he could turn his passion for hair into a profitable career. As an apprentice, Matatov says he was frequently complimented for his communication skills and his excitable attitude. He brings that rapport between barbers and clients to his shop.
Men’s Lounge prices vary depending on the haircut; a regular cut is $23; a razor fade for roughly $25 and hot towel shaves for $30. Men’s Lounge tries to help people when it can when it comes to pricing.
Senior and children’s cuts are $19 and $18, respectively. In addition, Men’s Lounge offers its “hero’s discount” for public servants like veterans, police officers, firefighters and teachers to show his respect for folks in those occupations.
“Teachers are so underpaid, so underappreciated and I wanted to do something fun for them,” Matatov says. “They do so much.”
Matatov says what he enjoys about Men’s Lounge is his diverse clientele. He enjoys talking to clients who, in turn, respect him.
“We have the coolest people who come in. They’re from all walks of life and levels of careers,” Matatov says.
Men’s Lounge provides quality haircuts for its clients, but it is the experience it brings that sets it apart from other barbershops. Men’s Lounge believes the exchange of conversation between the barber and client is as important as the service itself.
“We want to keep that good vibe going and to be more than your average shop,” Matatov says. “We’re all about the fun here and we enjoy what we do”